Thursday, May 6, 2010

Van Gogh Coloring Book

In several sessions at the Festival of Faith and Writing, speakers recommended copying the structure of a novel we like. This strikes me as a bit like buying a Van Gogh coloring book. Even learning that most stories follow similar structures and knowing each author will "color" the story uniquely, I find this advice lacking. Copying structure may be an effective starting point, but developing literary craft and style are critical to being an artist in my own right. The first takes hours of analysis; the second takes a lifetime of study and practice. On another level, the first is something I can do; the second reflects who I am. This will require more than simply coloring my Sunflowers blue instead of Van Gogh's gold and my Starry Night green instead of his blue.

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